Case Study: Wholesome Path Promises Safety Improvements
Wholesome Path manufactures organic whole grain foods. It started out as a very small company of about 10 people. About four years after its conception, its leader, Rebecca Waits, took the small company public. It soon began growing at a very rapid pace. Throughout this high growth period it has remained in touch with its all-natural organic roots and the people that works for the company. Although the management was good at maintaining its organic and food certifications, they were not very skilled and knowledgeable of the many safety regulations that governs manufacturing plants. It soon found its way into trouble when OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) inspectors showed up at its doors to perform a federal inspection.
The OSHA inspections were triggered solely by employee complaints. The chief inspector reported that OSHA's chief concern was to ensure that the workplace is safe for workers.
Worker training and safety programs at Wholesome Path's food processing plant were found to be below industry standards during the inspection. Inspectors for OSHA identified more than 25 safety and health hazards at the plant during an inspection conducted during the last three months. The agency cited Wholesome Path for:
- Violating requirements for turning off machinery during maintenance and providing safeguards so they cannot be restarted during maintenance (Lock-out Tag-Out).
- Critical safety guards missing on moving machine parts.
- Incomplete procedures for work performed in confined spaces including tanks and pits.
- Missing guardrails and safety harnesses to protect workers from falls.
- Lack of training for forklift operators.
- Posted safety rules not being enforced or obeyed.
- Pay a $90,000 fine.
- Put plant supervisors through approved OSHA safety training courses.
- Provide safety training to employees.
- Make the workplace safer.
Wholesome Path's management is now paying more attention to safety at the plant and is committed to bringing their safety program up to the highest standards within the industry. Roy Robes, a spokesperson for the company, said, "We expect to see some positive results from the changes we are now making. Our employee's well-being is our first concern."
- What role can Wholesome Path's human resource department play in making the workplace safer?
- What might the company have done to prevent them from getting into trouble with OSHA?
- What type of analysis might you perform to ensure that the safety training programs are adequate?
- What would you recommend if your analysis showed that training was not the answer?
- What type of training could you provide for the supervisors and management, besides safety, that would help them comply with OSHA requirements?